The decision to book Robbie Williams to perform at the opening ceremony of the World Cup has raised eyebrows, with a song called ‘Party Like A Russian’ among the former Take That star’s back catalogue.
The track, which appears to criticise the excesses of Russian oligarchs, was the lead single on his 2016 album ‘The Heavy Entertainment Show’.
It features lyrics such as: “It takes a certain kind of man with a certain reputation to alleviate the cash from a whole entire nation.
“Take my loose change and build my own space station, ain’t no refutin’ or disputin’ – I’m a modern Rasputin, subcontract disputes to some brutes in
Louboutin, act highfalutin’ while my boys put the boots in.”
A spokeswoman for football’s world governing body said: “We are extremely happy to have been able to gather such a high-level line-up of artists for the opening ceremony, which for the first time and for the benefit of the fans in the stadium and watching on TV will take place just half an hour before kick-off and will focus on musical performances.
“Robbie Williams and (Russian soprano) Aida Garifullina are extremely popular artists, and they will undoubtedly entertain and warm up the crowd before the hosts take to the pitch to play Saudi Arabia on June 14.
The opening ceremony takes place at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on Thursday, half an hour before kick-off in the first match between Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Williams said opening the event to 80,000 fans and many millions all over the world was a boyhood dream, and added: “We’d like to invite football and music fans to party with us in Russia, in the stadium, or to tune in their TVs a little earlier for an unforgettable show.”